Shaun Williamson and Sue Holderness, currently starring in Out of Order at the Orchard Theatre in Kent, paid a special visit to Heathfield Court care home in Northumberland Heath on 5th June.
Shaun, who previously played Barry Evans in EastEnders and Sue, who played Marlene in Only Fools and Horses, were at the home to kick off Heathfield Court’s bid to win ‘The Challenge’ – an annual competition held between the 13 homes in the care home’s group.
The competition challenges the home’s lifestyle team to come up with new and creative activities and events that can be adapted to meet the needs of all the residents within the home – whether active and mobile or bed bound. The activity must be engaging and exciting for all.
The theme chosen by the home is Best of British – kicking off with a Best of British TV event today – to be followed by a series of themed events over the next three months, ahead of being judged in September.
Shaun and Sue spent time talking to residents and the team and met Jane Radford and Matthew Wollner from the Bexleyheath branch of the Alzheimer’s Society who are the home’s charity of the year.
Whilst at the home, the two celebs viewed a Dementia Friends video – an Alzheimer’s Society awareness campaign initiative – and were awarded a ‘Dementia Friends’ badge by the home’s manager, Janet Collings.
Shaun said: “It was wonderful to meet the residents today and see them so engaged in the event.” Sue also commented: “Making sure that residents have plenty of activities that really interest and stimulate them is so important in my opinion”.
Resident Lillian Boswell (age 80) said: “It was such a thrill for me to meet Sue and Shaun – Only Fools and Horses and EastEnders are my all-time favourite British TV programmes. But I never expected to meet any of the characters in the flesh so to speak”. Lillian also celebrates her 81st birthday this week, so received a celebration cake and a big happy birthday from the celebrities at the event.
Residents and their families were also treated to a British TV themed bingo game and clips from Great British TV programmes were shown throughout the day. And Sue and Shaun signed photographs of themselves for residents and their families.
Home manager, Janet Collings said: “It was such a fantastic day which we will all remember for a very long time. What was particularly good was that our celebs were able to visit our very active residents as well as those less mobile – and everyone was made to feel totally included in the event and all the activities. I am very proud of my lifestyle team and very much hope that their Best of British idea – with many more themed events to come – will help the home to win the Challenge”.